11 Holiday Hosting Tips
Create a meaningful and memorable holiday
Words by Cassie LaMere
Cassie LaMere has been designing and producing curated events for over 15 years—and in that time, she’s become an expert in creating memorable event experiences where guests have the opportunity to foster meaningful connections. She’s sharing 11 of her best tips for making this holiday season your most memorable:
- When it comes to décor, traditional with a twist gives you the best of both worlds. If you’re looking to put your unique stamp on a holiday table setting, focus in on one traditional holiday color and pair it with complementary colors that are striking and contemporary. We took classic Christmas red and wove in rich camel tones throughout the tablescape to add buttery, neutral layers reminiscent of cinnamon lattes and gingerbread desserts. Offering guests something familiar with something new ensures maximum comfort and joy.
- Impromptu gatherings can be the best gatherings, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared! Always keep a bottle—or two—of chilled champagne on hand and a set of whimsical cocktail napkins to be ready to entertain surprise guests at a moment’s notice. Present craveable salty and sweet pantry essentials such as potato chips, mixed nuts, and chocolates in pretty bowls to elevate simple snacks for your party. We guarantee everyone will be gathered around the treats.
- Purchase host gifts early and keep a stash accessible throughout the holidays. To save time during the hustle and bustle of peak party season, you can even pre-wrap these gifts and place them under the tree. We love this time-saving trick—your décor will feel complete with presents displayed under the tree, and gifts will be ready to grab-and-go when you’re running out the door, fashionably late in your best party attire. Pro tip: put a temporary tag or coding system on the bottom of the bag to identify which gift is which.
- Don't have time to design beautiful menus for your place settings? Try this holiday hack. Print off or handwrite a menu and attach it to a holiday greeting card. You can place the menu inside the card or cut off the back of the card and create a front and back single piece. You’ll add style to your table, while finding a purpose for those leftover cards from last year and an excuse to purchase new ones at everyone's favorite after-Christmas sales.
- Memorable entertaining involves a feast for the senses, and a good playlist sets the tone for a celebratory event. We like to invite guests to join in on the party prep by creating a collaborative playlist that is sent to guests ahead of time with an invitation to add their favorite songs. To get us excited about the festivities and hosting duties ahead, we start listening to the playlist a week before the event, imagining all the fun that awaits at our soirée.
- Party punch is having a moment! We love the flexibility a festive punch offers; spike your recipe to make spirits bright and offer a zero-proof option that ensures all guests feel included in the fun. You can even pre-set your punch to add a pop of color to your holiday table.
- If your time and resources are limited during the holidays—and whose aren’t?—consider using dried florals in your décor and tablescapes. The arrangements will last you throughout the season, eliminating the stress of keeping up with a schedule to refresh your floral. We could all use a little de-stressing during the holidays, and this will free up your time for more Hallmark movies.
- When a text message simply won’t do and you need an easy way to send invitations, turn to the HiNOTE app. We are obsessed with its elevated, pre-designed templates that are full of personality and easily edited to customize with your party details. (The antique silver tray and martini memo are our current go-tos). Simply select from one of the charming designs, input necessary info, and hit one button to send via text or DM. Voilà! Let the celebrations commence.
- No table linens? No problem. One of our favorite party tricks is to use a blanket or throw as a tabletop linen. The texture levels up your gathering’s cozy factor, manifesting the perfect vibe for the holidays and intimate dinner parties at home.
- When it comes to entertaining during the holidays, feel empowered to repurpose what you own into holiday décor. Organic textures, neutral tones, and decorative pieces can transition into the most wonderful time of the year with a few seasonal accents. You don’t have to purchase an entirely new collection of décor and entertaining pieces in order to create a look that is festive and inviting. An assortment of greenery makes your vases feel fresh for holiday. Your everyday plates or glassware can be made jolly with a touch of rosemary, a cinnamon stick, an orange slice, or a pinecone—all easily found at your local grocery store or out in nature! As a bonus, many of these can do double-duty as ingredients for a mulled wine that will fill the house with the loveliest holiday scent!
Don't shy away from incorporating personal details or traditions into your entertaining—celebrate what makes you who you are, and guests will enjoy embracing that too. Your menu, décor, and music are all accessible places to infuse your gathering with details that are authentically you. Trust us—these personalized moments tell a story and will be all the more meaningful to your guests.